I haven’t written in a while. Mostly, I think it’s because I’ve been too absorbed in the world around me to take the time to write down what I’m experiencing.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been in this play where people with disabilities share their personal stories with the audience. I made a choice to be a part of the performance, a choice I regretted as soon as I did it. Because as much as I could talk about my cerebral palsy, what I felt compelled to talk about was the last year of my life, living in psychosis. It was really good for me to reflect on the last year, the last three years if I’m honest, and it led me to some startling conclusions.
As a healthy person, I have never put much emphasis on romantic relationships. I didn’t think of my husband or what my wedding would look like. I have wanted two things consistently: to have a successful career and to be a mother. I knew how to guard my heart, almost too well.
But when I got sick, something shifted in me. I couldn’t guard my heart. I latched on to any guy that I was attracted to. Often times, these men had girlfriends already or were at least not interested in me. I was persistent and pushy and advocated to be loved by men that I probably would have not pursued otherwise.
It got me into a lot of trouble. The worse part was that I couldn’t understand where this audacity came from. I thought I was changing and I really didn’t like who I was becoming.
My friends got involved, calling me out on what was supposedly my evil nature. Boyfriend stealer. They said that they believed that I was not capable of change, that I would continue to be this evil, intrusive person.
It was awful, mostly because I believed them. It was the harsh words they said to me that, in the midst of my psychosis, led me to try to take my own life.
When I got better through treatment, I saw myself going back to the person I was before I got sick. Quiet, reserved, patient. Combined with the counseling I had gone through over the last three years, I understood that I have worth. I began to love myself again.
Despite this healing, there was this nagging feeling that until I was presented with an opportunity to test this shift back to who I was, I would never know if this was truly change in my heart or if it was just a feeling.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
I said this prayer early on in my treatment because I needed to know that I was okay, that the person who interfered with men was not the real me. Until I was sure of that, I couldn’t see myself dating anyone.
God was faithful. He brought a man into my life that set off every trigger I had experienced in the last three years, only this time I was able to withstand the temptations. I came out the other side with renewed joy. I was okay, really okay.
Ultimately, I didn’t end up with that guy. I actually got to a point when I knew he wasn’t the type of guy I wanted to date, something that I would never allow myself to reach that point before. In my illness, I had always jumped the gun.
I was driving home one night, questioning God as to why He would allow me to open myself up to the possibility of this man, only to have it fizzle out. And then it hit me. It was never about the guy. This was about me knowing I was healthy, that I was not the vile, evil person I had been accused of being.
When this clicked for me, I knew I was ready to start dating again.